10 Tips To Tell You How To Start A Photography Business By Finding Your Photography Niche
Sooner or later, most photography enthusiast give some thought to how to start a photography business. Unfortunately, there are a few challenges that doom us to failure. One of the biggest challenges that we bring is our failure to make the distinctions between our love of photography (re: our enjoyment and passion for photography) and the business of photography (understanding buying and spending habits of people that are photography customers).
For example, many of us think that because our photography work is so good, that we shouldnt have that much trouble selling it. We, sometimes, mistakenly, think that great art and photography sells itself. Big mistake! Great photography does not sell itself. In the business world, nothing sells itself nothing! Knowing this is critical to start a photography business.
Our failure to make the distinction between our passion for photography and our desire to be in the photo business is also evident in how we try to tell people about what we do. For example, photography customers dont care what type of equipment we use. They dont care how many mega-pixels we have, nor how much our equipment cost us, nor what brand of camera we use. Photography customers (current and potential) want to know that we can, and will, produce the highest quality photography work for them.
Think about it, the mechanics that repair our cars dont tell us what tools that they use. The chefs in the restaurants that we patronize dont tell us what type of pots, pans or stoves that they use. In those businesses, it is already established what customers want and how best to give it to them. In other words, other businesses do a better job of understanding their niche. In order to start a photography business that is consistently successful and growing, we must be clear on what niche we are offering and how to sell the benefits of our niche to the customers.
Another mistake that we budding photography business owners repeat is failing to specialize (know our photography niche) in what we do. As photography enthusiasts, we enjoy shooting any and everything. As photographers, thats just fine. However, when we start a photography business, we, mistakenly, try to be all things to all people we take every photography job offered us.
One of the obvious problems with this approach is our failure to recognize how it drastically cheapens the value of what we do as skilled photographers, in the eyes of the customers. Mistakenly, we want our customers (current and potential) to know that we can photograph anything after all, were very versatile photographers! What the customers actually see is that were not versatile photographers,were just someone with a camera thats available to take pictures when they call us. Serious photography customers (re: those that can afford to spend regularly) want to do business with specialists photographers that know their photography niche.
Successful wedding photographers are clear on this, as an example of my point. Their primary customer (usually the bride) has dreamed about her wedding day for most of her life. She isnt looking for a vesatile photographer. She wants a wedding photographer that can make her look as good, happy and beautiful as she has been in all of her lifelong dreams of her day - her wedding day. Theres a special skill to this type of photography service. In fact, this niche has more to do with well developed people skills, in my opinion. Successful wedding photographers that are clear on these nuances are more successful in business.
Do your research
- Inventory Your Photo Collection Take a look at your photo collections. Determine what it is that you 1.) shoot the most; 2.) shoot consistently well; and 3.) enjoy shooting. Identify your and categorize the photos into various niches, i.e. portraits, sports, glamor, pets, children, landscape, etc.
- Research The Photography Markets Do internet searches using the words photography niche. Also, use the type of niche that you think your photos fit. For example, event photography niche, wedding photography niche, etc. Also, a good source to help identify some of the photo markets is The Photographers Market. This is a book that is published annually and claims to provide photo buying contacts and information. Online searches are the most useful, in my opinion. Books by author and photographer, Dan Heller are good places to get a better understanding of the vast world of photography, without all the artsy-hype, in my opinion. He also has a very informative website DanHeller.com
- Identify Real Markets Find out what type of photography (of your specialties) your customers currently are purchasing. What type of photography is selling? At some point, youll have to balance the realities of the different niches. There can be some factors that arent consistent across all photography niches. For example, some niches require longer workflow (workflow is the post production process of taking photos) periods and tasks than others. Higher quality portraits normally require photo editing which is time-consuming. Event photography requires the processing, packaging and delivering (presenting) of photos. True story: I went through my large photo collections and found that I had a very large number of outstandingly beautiful flowers. I cant begin to tell you my disappointment when I found out that there is virtually no market of photos of flowers it seems that everybody has them already, everybody! Lesson learned identify real markets.
Ten Tips To Assist You To Identify Your Niche
- Identify specialties that fit your style:
- Determine if you have the necessary equipment for the niche
- Do you have identifiable and specific skills in this niche area can you articulate them?
- Who is your target audience
- What type of photography do they purchase the most
- Where are they taking their photography business currently your competition
- What will be different about your services
- Does where you live support your preferable niche
- Is your niche stock photography or assignment photography do you know the difference
- What is the future potential and tendencies of your niche
Fortunately, the internet makes this information just a few clicks away. The information isnt difficult to find and learn. Knowing your niche increases your confidence tremendously. Truly know your niche and your photography business will follow!